Alburtis Animal Hospital
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Action Plan
Rev. March 28, 2020
During these challenging times, we all need to remain flexible in our planning and procedures, but inflexible in our desire to serve each other in the best way we know how given current circumstances and guidance from governmental and health authorities.
When thinking about what patients truly need to be seen in the hospital, we are using this guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture as a framework for our decisions:
When making these sometimes-difficult decisions, it may help to consider if you would feel comfortable explaining your reasoning to others and ask yourself:
Is this procedure necessary to save the animal’s life?
Is this procedure, exam, test, etc. necessary to alleviate pain or suffering?
Does this prevent zoonotic disease?
Can this case be managed in a way that mitigates the human health risks of COVID-19 transmission between the veterinary staff, owner, and their respective families and communities?
Would this procedure require the use of scarce personal protective equipment resources needed for critical human medical care?
Or can this patient safely wait until resources are less scarce and human health risks are lower?
Alburtis Animal Hospital will be operating under the following guidelines for the next 4 weeks (through April 18) at which time we will reassess. We likely will adjust as we go based on how things progress in our community and with our clients and staff. Comments are provided to give background, rationale, and potential outcomes.
- We will be limiting our hours open to the public to 9:00 am to 6:00 pm with hospital admissions starting at 8:30 am.
- All appointments will be performed as “curbside” appointments with no exceptions
- NO CLIENTS WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE BUILDING.
- When you arrive at the hospital for your pets appointment or admission time, we ask you to call our main phone number at 610-967-7387 when you are parked in the parking lot, and we will prepare to come to retrieve your pet from the car.
- As techs are preparing to leave the building to get your pet, receptionists will call and ask you to get your pet out of the car
- Cats must be in a carrier – please place carrier on the ground outside your car. On a rainy day, you may place the carrier on the front porch of the hospital.
- Place your dog on the ground with a leash attached to well-placed harness or collar
- We are focusing on a quick handoff of your pet in the parking lot that decreases person-to-person contact as much as possible.
- The individuals coming to get your pet will be wearing masks and gloves, will not be talking to you, and will not hesitate, but will place a slip leash on a dog on the ground/pick up the carrier with cat/small dog in it, and keep walking.
- We will not get pets out of the car, take a pet from your arms, lean into the car, stand and talk to you at the car window, etc.
- We will discuss your pet’s medical needs over the phone either before or after your pet is taken into the hospital.
- After the exam, necessary testing, etc., we will return your pet to your car along with any needed medications, foods, etc.
- Payment for all services and medication/food will be accepted as usual by cash, check, credit card over the phone, or Care Credit via the link on our website
- If you have traveled outside the United States in March, come in direct contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19, or have tested positive yourself, your animal should only be seen in truly urgent situations. You should send your pet to Alburtis Animal Hospital with a trusted agent and be available by phone during the exam.
- While you stay outside Alburtis Animal Hospital for your pet's appointment or to pick up food/medication, you should stay in your cars, or if standing outside, you will need to try to be at least 6 feet away from our employees (leash distance.)
- For hospitalized patients, only the pet, pet food, and medications will be accepted since sanitization of toys and bedding is too difficult during these circumstances.
- All wellness and vaccination appointments currently scheduled in the next 4 weeks will be postponed for one month from their current scheduled date except for rabies vaccines.
- Based on guidance from public health authorities and veterinary immunologists, we believe a 4-week delay is highly unlikely to have a negative outcome for the vast majority of our patients
- Rabies vaccines will be given only if a pet has not previously had a rabies vaccine administered, or if there has been exposure to a proven or suspected rabid animal.
- All new calls for wellness and vaccination visits will be scheduled for no sooner than April 20.
- All medication monitoring testing appointments currently scheduled in the next 4 weeks will be postponed for one month from their current scheduled date. Associated medication refills will be likewise extended for at least 60 days from their current expiration dates.
- The only exceptions to this policy will be for conditions in which we strongly anticipate a test result that would indicate something truly life-threatening.
- We will prefer to to non-owner-present if at all possible to maintain safe social distance for our staff and clients. If you must be present for your pet's euthanasia, we will allow one representative of your family to be present for the euthanasia. We will require that they wear a mask and gloves that we will provide We know this is likely to be the most difficult part of this plan for all of us, but because of the closeness of personal contact during euthanasia procedures there is no other way to maintain safe social distance for our staff and clients.
- Any calls for sick appointments will be triaged by our staff to allow for as many patients to be treated remotely as possible – we will be using a telemedicine service (TeleVet) to allow us to help patients with whom we currently have a valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR).
- Please take this opportunity to go to gettellevet.com/owners to install the app on your mobile device/tablet or familiarize yourself with the desktop/browser format.
- There will necessarily be fees involved as we address cases using telemedicine services, but we are attempting to keep those as reasonable as possible while allowing us to provide adequate staffing to respond to your and your pets’ needs.
- ProHeart injections will be postponed and you are encouraged to purchase oral heartworm preventatives either via our online store at alburtisah.vetsfirstchoice.com to have them delivered to your home or via our curbside medication pickup.
- Other injections and treatments (including surgical and dental anesthetic procedures) will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and only scheduled within the next 4 weeks if we truly deem them necessary to alleviate pain or suffering.
Refills on Pet Food & Medications:
- We understand people are looking to stock up on pet foods and medications and we are hoping to accommodate this as best possible with a limit of no more than a 60-day supply of medications that are dispensed as individual doses.
- If you wish to purchase any Hill's foods, please consider going to https://hillstohome.com/register-pet to register for HillsToHome delivery of your food.
- We will attempt to fill additional necessary medications on a case-by-case basis. This will depend on the Doctor's recommendation, the type of medication and the availability of that medication. Currently, we do not have much of a shortage, but that can change quickly. As a reminder, you can order these items on our online store via the link at alburtisah.vetsfirstchoice.com and have them delivered to your home to help avoid unnecessary travel and contacts.
- We will accept payment by phone and deliver food & medications we have in stock to your car in the parking lot.
We will send out follow-up emails as things change. Please Check our Facebook page www.facebook.com/AlburtisAnimalHospital for information as well. Know that we are ramping up cleaning throughout our facility. Our team is vigilant about washing hands for 20 seconds and as always, we are doing so in between each patient.
These are unprecedented times. Please try and support our local businesses as best possible. These will be very trying times over the next few weeks and possibly months, but we can work together to help one another. Please be kind and patient to all. We will do all we can to help the pets, our team and our community to work through these difficult circumstances.
If you have any questions regarding what procedures and services are considered non-elective, please don’t hesitate to call or email!
Stay safe and healthy.
Informational resources for Novel Coronavirus COVID-19: